Stephan Rudykh Earns 2019 Faculty Scholar Award

Prof. Stephan Rudykh

Healthcare improvements are a crucial component of addressing a larger societal need. With a better understanding of microstructures found in biological tissues and other soft matter, clinicians can gain insight into previously unknown mechanisms of the human body. This allows better treatments, better drug delivery, and an overall enhanced experience for the patient to ultimately improve healthcare.

“[My research] pushes the boundaries of current knowledge in the mechanics and physics of soft matter,” says Stephan Rudykh, an Assistant Professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. “We aim to establish the technological platform for novel ways of human-technology interactions through designing bio-compatible soft materials capable of autonomous sensing, actuations, and morphing abilities.”

Dr. Stephan Rudykh’s research enables clinicians to better understand how human bodies work so they are able to treat patients more efficiently and effectively. Rudykh’s work is focused on enhancing the human-technology interaction within the healthcare landscape via soft matter, which is matter that is capable of enduring drastic changes. Rudykh uses soft matter or “bio-inspired materials” to simulate human tissues. By understanding the characteristics of these tissue-like materials, he is able to manipulate them for various applications including patient-specific models, drug delivery, and neurological disorders.

These applications are making groundbreaking initiatives in the intersection of health and human-technology. Utilizing soft materials allows Rudykh to produce patient-specific models. These models are used by surgeons to practice surgeries and demonstrate complex operations to patients. In addition, the remote control of Rudykh’s newly designed autonomous materials opens new ways for precise and controllable drug delivery. Finally, his expertise in the physics and mechanics of soft matter allows for an improved understanding of complicated Multiphysics behavior of the human brain which, in turn, helps to comprehend, predict and prevent neurological disorders.

Originally from Israel, Rudykh joined the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2018. Prior to that, he earned his bachelor’s and master’s in Power Engineering from St. Petersburg State Polytechnical University in St. Petersburg, Russia. He was also a visiting graduate student at the California Institute of Technology and Harvard University before receiving his PhD in Mechanical Engineering from Ben-Gurion University in Beer-Sheva, Israel.

Already in his time with the University of Wisconsin, Rudykh has utilized the campus’ cross-college collaboration to advance his multidisciplinary research. His main research topics include active materials, acoustic metamaterials, bio-inspired materials and fiber composites. With support from the 2019 Grainger Institute for Engineering Faculty Scholar Award, Rudykh is able to utilize large-scale collaboration and engage individuals and research beyond just the engineering department. Not only is Rudykh’s work appealing to industrial relationships, but it is also working to solve society’s vital demand for better healthcare for all people.

Author: Rhiannon McCarthy